Jesus before he was born on earth – Part Three

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

We must remember that Joseph had no way of knowing it was the Holy Spirit who had made Mary pregnant. Mary had received a message from the Lord, via an angel before she fell pregnant with Jesus (see Luke 1:28). So she anticipated the pregnancy. However, how do you explain to your husband to be that you will soon be pregnant with God’s baby? It is not something someone is going to believe. So perhaps she said nothing, or perhaps she told Joseph and he thought she was using this to cover up some other activity. But look at Joseph’s reaction – he was faithful to the law and did not want to publicly disgrace her. Joseph was a religious man – a man of integrity and goodness. He did not understand initially that Mary was expecting a child by the Holy Spirit. How can anyone understand that? It may sound easy when you read it now in  hindsight, but if this was happening to you in real time, you would never believe it!

From the time of his conception, Jesus already caused controversy. Joseph was thinking about divorcing Mary, when the angel appears to him in a dream. The greatest act of human history was busy playing out in the lives of two young Jewish people. A young Mary (some people estimate she was about 14) and a young man Joseph, parents to the Son of God. They were entrusted with the physical upbringing of Jesus, but we have been entrusted with the spiritual force that lives within us by the Holy Spirit. Let us also do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

 

Jesus before he was born on earth – Part Two

Luke 1:26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

When the Father was choosing a mother for Mary, he looked for someone who honoured Him. He looked for someone who pleased him. The angel said to Mary, that she was highly favoured of the Lord. Imagine what that must be like – to be highly favoured by God? What an amazing privilege. Mary was troubled by this greeting. She must have been taken aback. Who wouldn’t be when an angel appears and tells you God favours you highly.

The angel tells  Mary that Jesus “will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end”. Jesus was announced as the Messiah. What an amazing thing to happen to anyone – to be told you are going to be mother to the promised Messiah, the Holy one of Israel.

I love the way that Mary response to the bombshell – she basically says “OK, well I am serving the Lord, so if that’s what he wants, it is fine by me”. The lesson here is that no matter how strange the word is that God speaks to us sometimes, we need to be willing and ready to obey. I am your servant Lord, so let the word you have spoken come true. That is basically the way the Lord works. he speaks to us and prompts us by His word. God seldom appears in the form of an angel, but now that we have the Holy Spirit, he helps us hear God through our spirit within. God speaks through His word. If we want to hear from God, we must be reading the Bible. I am finding that 20 to 30 minutes  day is nowhere near enough time to read the Bible. There is so much that is written there, and God speaks so clearly, that I need plenty of time.